A long-awaited murder trial began on Wednesday for a Denver man accused of killing his wife hours after she discovered he had been having an extramarital affair – and who later received $750 insurance payout $000.
Robert “Bob” Feldman, 58, is on trial in Denver District Court for first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Stacy Feldman, 44, who died at their south Denver home on March 1, 2015.
Prosecutors told jurors on Wednesday that Robert Feldman choked or suffocated his wife after learning about the affair. Feldman then picked up his young children from school â an hour late â and took them to a church carnival before returning home and calling 911, telling operators he had just discovered his wife unanswered in the bathtub with running water.
“Firefighters noticed there was no water on the ground,” Deputy Senior District Attorney Maggie Conboy said of the first responders to the 911 call.
Defense attorneys for Feldman – who he had planned to pay with insurance money following the death of his wife – told jurors that Stacy Feldman had a long history of medical issues, including an enlarged heart. , and that she had fallen dead in the shower a few hours later. learning of her husband’s affair.
“She was sick that day,” attorney Kelly Schulten said. ââ¦She was chronically ill. And those things make a difference in a human’s life and in a human’s body.
Stacy Feldman’s death was not ruled a homicide by the Denver Medical Examiner’s Office; pathologists could not identify the cause of death. His death was also not initially investigated as a homicide by Denver police until they learned of Robert Feldman’s affair months later.
The $750,000 insurance policy was five years old, Schulten said, and Robert Feldman had conducted previous business; the last one was nothing special, she told jurors.
“We won’t hear any evidence that Stacy said anything to Bob about (the affair) that day,” Schulten said. “We’re not going to hear that Stacy confronted Bob at all. We’re not going to hear that Stacy was even upset about it, at all.
Stacy Feldman learned of the affair when a woman Robert Feldman met on the dating service Tinder emailed Stacy asking if she was divorced or separated from her husband. Robert Feldman had told the woman he was estranged from his wife and was looking for a long-term relationship before they had sex days before, but she had grown suspicious when he told her. was then dismissed. He also gave the woman a fake last name.
Stacy Feldman and the woman spoke around 8:45 a.m. that morning, and Stacy told the woman, an unknown, that she was “done” with Robert Feldman, Conboy said. Stacy texted a friend at 10 a.m. and was supposed to pick her kids up from school at noon, but never showed up.
The children stayed with an administrator until 1 p.m., when Robert Feldman arrived, picked up his children, and took them to the church carnival. Robert Feldman initially told police he left the house at 8.30am that day and did not return until around 3pm when he discovered his wife in the bathtub. He later changed his account to say he had gone home for a few minutes to change clothes and train, but claimed he had not spoken to his wife when he stopped by .
He also claimed that his wife ate a marijuana edible and stayed home sick from work before she died, but those claims were false, Conboy said.
During a nearly 2-year investigation, police and prosecutors brought in a domestic violence, strangulation and suffocation specialist who reviewed photos of Stacy Feldman’s body and determined that her injuries showed she had been killed, Conboy said.
“You will hear that Stacy Feldman’s body was covered in bruises, abrasions and multiple blunt trauma,” she told jurors.
Stacy Feldman’s autopsy was the first the Denver pathologist had ever performed on her own and she was still under the supervision of another examiner, Conboy said. The opinion of the outside expert should carry more weight, she suggested.
But Schulten said none of the wounds on Stacy Feldman’s body were life-threatening and argued that the Denver medical examiner’s office deemed Stacy Feldman’s death indeterminate for good reason: the underlying medical conditions of the woman made it impossible to say conclusively that she had been killed.
âWe have an undetermined death and an unverified opinion, and ultimately it undermines our whole system,â Schulten told jurors. She also pointed out that Robert Feldman had a life insurance policy on himself, as well as his wife.
In 2019, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Feldman could use $550,000 of the $750,000 he received from his wife’s life insurance policy to pay his defense attorneys, even though the guardian of his two young children argued that they should get the funds.
The trial is expected to last two weeks.
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